ICD: Hi, I wonder if anyone can tell me... - British Heart Fou...

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Becky-Biscuit profile image
14 Replies

Hi, I wonder if anyone can tell me what to expect. I have been told that I need a defibrillator fitted and have an assessment booked for 9th January. I was very shocked - No pun intended! - to hear this news and no idea how long it will be from the assessment before it is fitted. What can I expect regarding how long I will be in hospital and what to expect after it's fitted. Will I feel better or the same?

14 Replies
Wodney1966 profile image

Hi I had my icd fitted in Jan in hospital overnight 6 weeks off work felt better straight away don' even know it's there

I had my ICD fitted about a year ago and it made no difference in how I felt. It just sat in my chest and monitored my hearts performance.

If its and ICD + Pacemaker you may well notice a differance. If you find out what you are getting, will you let me know?

Becky-Biscuit profile image
Becky-Biscuit in reply to

Thank you for your reply and I will post up how I get on

Becky-Biscuit profile image
Becky-Biscuit in reply to

Hi it's a defibrillator and pacemaker booked for 2nd Feb

AlaninSpain profile image

I had one fitted in October last year after collapsing after my third hill walk in five days, and having no idea that I had a heart problem. After two weeks on Hospital on a monitor they decided that I needed an ICD. They did the implant on the Monday at mid-day, only a local and I actually watched the wires going into my heart on the monitor. I was out of hospital the next morning.

It was a bit uncomfortable to start with and could only lay on my back for the first 3 or 4 months. They told me that it would be 6 to 12 months before I got back to somewhere near normal and that I couldn't drive for six months, I was back on the road after a month.

I have had to adapt my lifestyle, not because of the ICD but because of my heart problems.

The only small irritation with it is that because it's so close to the surface the site is still tender, if it gets touched it's like being pinched. I actually caught the corner of the car door on it last week, and with the fuss that I was making the wife thought that it had gone off!

The pacemaker side of mine has kicked in a couple of times since it was fitted, but neither time was I aware of it, in fact I was asleep.

I am still running my walking groups and in fact have started a new one called Walking for Wellness which is for 'less able' as the routes are flatter and shorter, but I still lead most of the Saturday walks.

I should point out that this all took and takes place in Southern Spain, my stay in Hospital was at the Virgin de la Victoria Teaching hospital in Malaga, as I live inland from the Costa del Sol.

All of this was done under the Spanish National Health system because I am a British pensionista, and I am told by our local farmacéutico that the implant alone cost around €35,000.

Spatz76 profile image

Hi Becky

I've had my ICD since August. If you read a couple of my posts then you'll see I was really scared about getting an ICD. I put it off longer than I should have but now it's in there I'm so glad it's there. I see it as my own personal paramedic. I felt better after mine 1. Because my bradycardia was causing me dizzy spells and breathlessness, my heart rate is now kept as a minimum 50bpm which has helped my symptoms and 2. I was very anxious about popping my cloggs at any moment due to my condition and the ICD protects me from that. Depending on the reason you are getting one I'd assume you can only feel better for having it.

How long you are in hospital probably depends on your circumstances. I had mine implanted for protection from ventricular tachycardia so I didn't have any physical challenges to over come such as a heart attack. With that in mind I was in and out of hospital within a few hours. It was painful and uncomfortable for about a week as the wound healed, getting a lot better as each day passed. Boobs are a pain in this situation 😆. I was ready to go back to work after a week. I wasn't allowed to drive for a month after my implant as per the DVLA. This could be longer depending on your circumstances. I found this bit tough.

Life with an ICD is normal. I can feel mine under my skin when I lie down but can't see it. I can't feel it pacing my heart which mine is currently doing 56% if the time. It's there doing it's thing and I don't even think about it. I did need to have my settings tweaked a bit to get it right for me. Just make sure when you go to appointments at the clinic you talk about how you are feeling physically as the settings can be changed to help for example I was getting breathless so they put a rate response setting on mine so it helped out by increasing my heart rate as I needed it.

Mines not gone off so far so I can't share any experience from that respect.

The only things I've noticed that I have to think about that I didn't before is airport security gates but most big airports have body scanners now anyway which are pacemaker friendly and induction hobs. Other than that in my experience, you can live life as if it's not there and generally forget it's there.

If you have any other questions please give me a shout.

Spatz76 x

Heartlady1 profile image

Hi Becky... I had my CRT-D fitted 10 weeks ago. I was very nervous beforehand but seriously it has been the best thing I could have had done.

They normally do the op under local anaesthetic.... but they do give you a sedative too.... so you are very chilled through the op. And the recovery time is much quicker. I was in overnight and then out the next day.

Yes there is discomfort at first.... more from having an op .... but I felt better heart wise as soon as it was fitted! Which really surprised me.

I went back to work part time after two weeks ( but with hindsight I should have left another week)

I was not allowed to drive for a month... so used the buses once I felt able.... about week 2.

At my week 8 check I was given a home monitor.. .. which means the hospital can take regular checks of my device without me having to have having lots of hospital visits.

Most importantly the device has made me feel more energy... not getting breathless or tired.... and allows me to get on with life. They do say give it 6 to 12 months for the device to fully settle Down. But for me the positives of being able to do so much more and not feeling poorly has far outweighed any little niggles. Which are only little ones.

Although I was initially worried about having a defibrillator... it has been explained that this is an insurance policy....cand probably won't go off... but if it did it would just have saved my life.

Good Luck with your op... hope all goes well and do let us know. Please ask any questions if anything above brings any questions.


Becky-Biscuit profile image
Becky-Biscuit in reply to Heartlady1

Thank you for your reply. It's very reassuring

Hi I was 13 weeks from assement, I am in Scotland so I don't know if we have the same waiting times and it might depend if it's urgent or more routine, to be honest I thought the wait would have been shorter and I had a holiday booked for new year but alas it was not to be, it had to be cancelled as I am scheduled for icd on the 22nd although I know it needs done, I have dilated cardiomyopathy and heart failure, I am gutted it's so near Xmas, I was told the 15th at first and I thought that was bad, then it was changed to the 22nd, boohoo 😥😥I go on the 18th for the pre op, I will let you know any info that might be of use to you, def no driving for four weeks, over Xmas 🎄 naw! And no flying for six, ah well a quiet one for me, while everybody parties on! Char xx

Sina-6491 profile image
Sina-6491 in reply to

Aww bless ya,

Best wishes for Monday 😊

andrew4322 profile image

I had mine put in a year last September. It’s not fired once, although I have the CRT-D version and sometimes you can feel the tiny pulses working to keep the heart in a decent rhythm. It’s comforting to know it’s there, and I quickly got used to it.

I had mine done under general and was out the same day. Had 4 weeks off work, and to the end of it I felt perfectly fine. It’s definitely helped my heart, and the insurance policy it provides is great. Scar is tiny, still a bit pinky but fading, and as long as you don’t sleep leaning on it, there’s no issues sleeping or anything.

Istilllaugh profile image

Hi. I can't remember my assessment date but it didn't seem long before the day of the 'dreaded op', lol, Pacemaker Implant. I was told to arrive on the ward at 7:30am, I arrived late due to traffic. The procedure, under a Local anaesthetic, was preformed in the early afternoon. Not particularly unpleasant, weird definitely. I don't think that I stayed in overnight. That was Nov 2010.

My Pacemaker changed my life. Frequent Blackouts (Syncope) without warning was worrying but since getting my Pacemaker they don't happen any more.

Try to relax and have a Great Christmas!

laura_dropstitch profile image
laura_dropstitchHeart Star

Hi again. How did your appointment go? Hope you're feeling a bit better informed now x

Becky-Biscuit profile image

Well I've been booked in to have a defibrillator and pacemaker fitted in a couple of weeks.

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